The number of Iowans for whom English is a second language is growing, but not very quickly. During the 2000 Census, people over age five were asked if they spoke a language other than English at home. In Iowa, 160-thousand people or about six-percent of the population said they spoke a different language at home. That’s up from around 100-thousand people or four-percent of Iowans in 1990. Nationwide, some 47-million Americans or about 18-percent said they speak a different language at home, and most said the other language was Spanish. Census officials say they asked the question to better inform government agencies and programs that serve people who have difficulty speaking English.
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